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DPS's Operation Cinderblock Targets Fraudulent Vehicle Inspections in Texas.

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AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has launched "Operation Cinderblock," an initiative aimed at cracking down on fraudulent vehicle inspections and inspectors. The operation, which began in August 2022, focuses on vehicle inspection stations and inspectors suspected of "clean scanning" vehicles, bypassing the required emissions test during the inspection process.

Clean scanning is the illegal practice of passing a vehicle's emissions test by either testing a different vehicle or using a simulator, avoiding the actual emissions test for the inspected vehicle. DPS initially identified around 270 vehicle inspection stations with a high volume of questionable inspections, suggesting clean scan violations had likely occurred recently. Of these, 34 stations were found to have gross misconduct and were promptly served administrative action notices, which resulted in the immediate suspension or revocation of their licenses.

As part of Operation Cinderblock, DPS has suspended or revoked 412 vehicle inspection stations and 532 inspectors so far. Some cases are also under investigation for potential criminal offenses. Over the next 60 days, enforcement action will be ramped up, with the department working in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to remove an additional 135 inspectors from the program. DPS anticipates removing approximately 700 more inspectors by mid-April, followed by action against the station licenses at the inspection locations where violations took place.

Operation Cinderblock is an ongoing effort to combat clean scanning across Texas, with more actions expected as the operation continues.

Vehicle emissions inspections are mandatory in 17 Texas counties to improve air quality and are integrated with the annual safety inspection program. DPS, in conjunction with TCEQ, regulates over 5,500 emissions inspection stations and more than 19,400 inspectors in these counties.